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Re: Issues of @summary and use of data for "decisions"

From: Simon Pieters <simonp@opera.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 21:39:56 +0200
To: "Laura Carlson" <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Cc: "Shelley Powers" <shelley.just@gmail.com>, "Sam Ruby" <rubys@intertwingly.net>, "HTMLWG WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.uvzswurfidj3kv@simon-pieterss-macbook.local>
On Tue, 23 Jun 2009 21:07:41 +0200, Laura Carlson  
<laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Simon,
>> I have heard arguments along the lines of "but captions and summaries  
>> are
>> different" or "but captions should be short, summaries long", but I  
>> have not
>> heard any argument as to why the user agent needs to be able to  
>> distinguish
>> between the caption and the summary. (I might have missed it, please  
>> provide
>> a pointer if so.)
> Providing summary information visually by default would be extra
> verbiage that most authors/designers would be reluctant to include
> visually on a page because of redundancy.

If an author is reluctant to include the summary visually, but still wants  
to provide a summary for non-visual users, then it can be hidden with CSS.

> (For more info see sighted
> use case).
> http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/SummaryForTABLE#head-50bd1f9b6606cd0d63fc7e525c1db226aac36d9b
> Most of the debate around providing a summary mechanism has been about
> misunderstanding its purpose, so trying to merge its purpose with
> another element's purpose may be problematic leading to more
> confusion.

I would argue the opposite: if authors don't know when to use summary=""  
and when to use <caption>, removing the choice should result in less  
confusion. (cf. <acronym>.)

> Related ref:
> short and long text alternatives.
> * These are different concepts with different uses and both should be
> provided as separate functions. Short descriptions are read
> automatically when the item is encountered. Long descriptions are read
> only on user request.
> http://www.w3.org/2009/06/Text-Alternatives-in-HTML5

Are you saying that <caption> is read automatically, and summary="" is  
read only on user request?

If it is important to have something short be read automatically, maybe  
the user agent could read the first sentence in the <caption>  
automatically, and the rest on user request?

Simon Pieters
Opera Software
Received on Tuesday, 23 June 2009 19:40:45 UTC

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